Soft-shell Po' Boy with Chipotle Tartar Sauce

Coastal Living
Makes 6 servings


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1 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon ancho chile powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
6 jumbo soft-shell crabs, dressed
6 (1/4-inch-thick) slices red onion
5 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
6 soft-crusted hoagie rolls, split
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup yellow cornmeal
1/3 cup raw, hulled pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup masa harina or all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt
6 small romaine lettuce leaves
12 thin slices ripe tomato
1 avocado, pitted, peeled, and cut into 12 slices
3/4 cup alfalfa or radish sprouts
Lime wedges


Whisk milk and ancho chile and garlic powders in a shallow bowl until combined; add crabs. Cover and chill 1 hour.

Meanwhile, brush red onion slices with 1 tablespoon oil. Grill or broil 4 minutes per side. Set aside. Spread cut sides of rolls with butter, and grill or toast until golden brown.

Combine cornmeal and next 3 ingredients in a food processor. Process until mixture resembles fine crumbs; transfer mixture to a shallow dish. Drain crabs, and discard milk mixture. Dredge crabs in cornmeal mixture.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. When oil is very hot, add half the crabs, top-side down; sauté 2 to 3 minutes per side or until golden. Drain crabs on paper towels, then transfer to a baking sheet, and keep warm in a 200° oven. Repeat with remaining oil and crabs.

Spread toasted sides of rolls with Chipotle Tartar Sauce. Top with a lettuce leaf, 2 slices each tomato and avocado, a grilled red onion slice, and a fried crab. Top with sprouts and a squeeze of lime.

Wine note: "When I hear that a seafood dish has a kick, I reflexively go to the fire-extinguishing quality of a German Riesling. A light, off-dry Riesling such as Dr. Loosen Riesling Kabinett ($20) or Gunderloch Jean-Baptiste Riesling Kabinett ($16) will tame the heat emanating from the chile and garlic powders in this preparation. These wines' mouthwatering tanginess--so admirable in a good Riesling--will refresh the palate after a mouthful of fried crab." --Mark Oldman

Created date

May 2005